J.R. Hunt

University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Publications (2)1.64 Total impact

  • J.R. Hunt · R.D. Cousens · S.E. Knights ·
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    ABSTRACT: Regions with Mediterranean climates are seasonally arid and provide a niche for ephemeral species which germinate following discrete and variable rainfall during summer. These species must be able to detect when conditions are suitable for completion of their life cycle. Common heliotrope (Heliotropium europaeum) is one such species. It is considered a weed in its naturalised habitat in southern Australia as it uses resources that could be used by ensuing crops, and is toxic to livestock.We examined common heliotrope's germination responses to temperature and water potential, the effect of simulated rainfall on seedling emergence and plant growth in lysimeters.Fresh seeds of common heliotrope have relatively high optimum temperatures and water potentials for germination (around 35 °C and 0 MPa). Germination percentage of seeds extracted from the soil seed bank varies seasonally. In the soil types and climate of the study area, 24.2 mm is the minimum amount of rainfall resulting in emergence. Evapotranspiration required to reach minimal reproductive output was 19.4 mm.Common heliotrope's germination requirements have been selected to ensure that it will only germinate after sufficient rainfall to allow reproductive output. This is the mechanism through which common heliotrope detects its temporal niche.
    Journal of Arid Environments 06/2009; 73(6):602-610. DOI:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2009.01.002 · 1.64 Impact Factor